I’ve signed up to run the London Landmarks Half Marathon

Soo….I may have signed up to run my first half marathon. The London Landmarks Half to be exact. Last year I made a decent go at running my first 10k, but this is twice that distance.

I still haven’t decided whether I’m excited or pooping my pants. 13.1 miles is quite the distance for a girl that hated P.E.

I suppose it could be worse, I could have been daft enough to sign up to do a full marathon? Noooo…. I’ll leave that one to my big sister, husband and little brother. (They are doing the Brighton Marathon this year)

On the 24th March I shall be running as part of the Breast Cancer Now team. This is a charity that is significant to me as two years ago my Mum lost her fight against Breast Cancer.

I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to experience this. Sadly though so many families are going through exactly the same thing right now. Life can be very sucky at times can’t it!

Image : breastcancernow.org

Breast Cancer Now‘s aim is to ensure that by 2050 no one will die from breast cancer. How? By carrying out that all important research into the causes, genetic risk factors and targeted drug discovery. It was such research that gave my family an extra 8 years with our Mum.

Training is going to be tough, I’m going to need all the support I can get. Even if its just encouragement to get out and train on a day that a) I’m feeling Meh! Or b) the weather is grim. I’m definitely more of a fair weather runner.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to the cause you can do so through my Just Giving page.

Wish me luck, I shall keep you updated on how the training goes.

Route map source: llhm.co.uk

South East Bloggers Club | An evening at Jump Street

It seems crazy to think that it has been over two weeks since I attended the South East Bloggers Event at Jump Street in Chelmsford. Where has the time gone?

What a great evening it was though and definitely outside of what I would normally be getting up to on a Thursday night.

The evening provided the opportunity to try out the trampoline park as well as meet with some lifestyle brands.

I throughly enjoyed the trampolines, my inner child resurfaced itself big time!

As well as Jump Street the venue also houses Essex’s only clip n climb . This colourful arena houses 32 different climbing challenges as well as a vertical drop slide. I was not brave enough to try that. I’m a wimp!

I do want to go back and try out some of the climbing challenges though. The stairway to heaven in the front of this picture looks pretty interesting.

Energy spent we also had the opportunity to have a go at customising a design on a purse to take home using the happy fabric heat press.

We had a chat with Orthosole who create customisable insoles. They have gifted me a pair to try out at home in my running shoes. I will tell you more about that in a separate more detailed blog post.

We also met with the creator of Chelsea candles. These hand poured soy wax candles smelt and looked great. I definitely want to pick one up in The future.

Lastly a representative for Farleighs Hospice who talked to us about the work that they do and some of their upcoming fundraising work.

Overall it was a really fun evening and I offer a huge thanks to the ladies at Southeastbloggers for organising it.

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

On Thursday evening I had the opportunity to visit Hopefield Animal Sanctuary for an Influencer event that they were hosting .I took my Son along with me as I knew he would enjoy meeting the animals.

We were given a guided tour of the sanctuary and an informative talk telling us all about the necessary work that they do at Hopefield. After our tour we were then treated to a delicious vegan afternoon tea served up in their on site tearoom.

The sanctuary is located in Brentwood, not far from where I live in Essex. I had driven past it on many occasions as the paddocks back onto the A12, a road that I use regularly, but I had never actually visited. My view from the A12 gave the impression that Hopefield is a small horse sanctuary, which of course it is, however it is actually so much more.

The Sanctuary was founded In 1983 by Paula and Ernie Clark, after seeing the plight of the increasing number of abandoned ponies and cobs being left abandoned on Rainham Marshes. Today the Sanctuary is home to over 450 rescued animals, not just horses. They range from unwanted pet rabbits and cats, horses and cattle to the more exotic including tortoises, snakes, raccoons, alpaca and reindeer,

One of Hopefield’s first residents was Hope a 35 year old horse. Hope was rescued at just 6 months old from the meat market where she had been separated from her mother and was found hiding in a corner scared and alone.

Hope is a lovely horse and thanks to the care she has received is now quite used to human contact.

Hope suffers from a foot condition so cannot walk in mud. This is why her paddock is floored with concrete. It allows her to enjoy being outdoors even in wet conditions. This is just one example of how Hopefield will adapt its facilities to match an individual animals needs.

Hopefield operates with a no kill policy meaning that they will never put a healthy animal down. Some of the animals have been rescued from terrible conditions, injured, malnourished and with complex physiological issues. The team will do their best to provide the specialist care and treatment required.

Some of animals have found their way to Hopefield as they have been considered to no longer have any value for their previous owners. These male dairy cows for example would usually be destroyed at birth considered worthless.

Other residents have found themselves at Hopefield due to being purchased as unsuitable pets. These Racoon dogs might  look very cute but do not make good pets. They found their way into the UK pet market from China. They are a wild animal though and cannot be domesticated. Luckily they were able to find a home at the sanctuary. Often unwanted animals are just dumped by their previous owners.

Hopefield do such fantastic work rescuing animals that would otherwise live a life that is full of suffering. They can only do this through fundraising and with the help of volunteers.

If you want to help you can do so by making a donation via their website. There is also an animal adoption scheme. We plan on adopting Slow Coach, the tortoise on the left in the picture below. He has scarring on his shell as he was kept in too small an enclosure. The heat lamps where so low they burnt his shell. This shell damage is permanent and will not grow back. It doesn’t slow him down though he was actually quite fast for a tortoise!

My Son instantly fell in love with Slow coach. He loves tortoises and wants one as a pet. We have had to tell him no though as it would be irresponsible of us to even entertain the idea. It is just not possible for us to provide the required home for one. My Son is excited to adopt Slow Coach though and will be able to visit him at Hopefield.

If you wanted to visit the Sanctuary and meet the animals for yourself it is open to the public. Opening times are  Fridays through to Monday, between 11 and 4pm.

Entry fees are very reasonable at just £16 for a family ticket. (2 adults, 2 children).

A visit makes for a lovely afternoon out, not only to you get to see a wide variety of different animals but it is very educational and helps to support their ongoing work. The tea room is also a great place to grab refreshments whilst you are there. We really enjoyed our afternoon tea!

If you could adopt an animal what kind of animal would you adopt? Let me know in the comments.

An evening at the #MegaMysteryBus Event

On the 8th of February I had the opportunity to attend the #MegaMysteryBus blogger event in London. I didn’t quite know what to expect from the evening having not taken part in anything like this before. I was looking forward to it though as I knew we would be taking part in a bus tour around some of London’s most iconic places and that it would also involve a bit of sleuthing.

We met at the Radisson Blu hotel on Portman Square.  Here we were welcomed with drinks and nibbles and given a team number.  This provided us with the opportunity to break the ice and find our fellow team members before boarding the bus.

Each team was given a Sherlock adventure bag that contained clue cards, evidence bags and a computer tablet. We had to follow the instructions to solve the clues, find some mystery characters including Sherlock Holmes himself and gather evidence along the way. The bus took us to two different locations, Westminster Abbey and Trafalger Square. We also had to find our own way from Trafalger Square to Convent garden. No easy feat as I’m clueless when it comes to London. Yay for google maps then!

This was such a fun evening and I met some great girls, even if our team didn’t really have a clue what we were doing. Sleuthing definitely isn’t my fortay. It is no surprise our team placed in last HA HA!

This was definitely one of those evenings were it was about living in the moment, I think I took about two viable pictures the whole evening, we were just having too much fun.  I felt like I was living out my childhood dream of going on Treasure Hunt. Yep showing my age there.

Fortunately the organisers of the evening  SEO experts Search Laboratory had brought along a professional photographer Matt Chappell. The photos in this post are all his work. Well done for keeping up with four teams of crazy bloggers running around London.

Our Teams Evidence of The Hound – A Poo emoji key ring
Sid turned up for a surprise visit.
If you are looking for a budget Intercity coach operator do check out Mega Bus.  They offer fares from as little as £1 including a 20kg luggage allowance. The coaches are clean and comfortable, have free WiFi and toilet facilities. I have used them in the past to travel from London to Birmingham and found the whole experience very positive.



The Bloggersxmas2016 Event | #Blogmas Day 2

A couple of weekends ago I was fortunate to be able to attend the #bloggersxmas held at Finches Pub in Finsbury Square, London. 

After getting completely lost, with no Internet connection on my phone so I couldn’t even check google maps,  I finally arrived about 20 minutes late. The hubby had to talk me through directions over the phone in the end! 

Anyway, late and slightly flustered I was greeted by jasmine and Kirsty, authors of Soeursdeluxe.com, who organised the event. They were lovely and very welcoming. 

The event was a chance to meet up with other bloggers and to meet some exciting brands. After a glass of refreshing Apple punch I had a little wander around the brands showcases. There was a good mix of brands I already new and some new discoveries. Here is a quick round up of the best. 

Online boutique  Mikko specialise in luxury fashion created by talented designers from across Europe.

I loved the simplicity of their dresses and super chunky knitwear. Some of the pieces were modelled by Mikko’s representatives who kindly posed for photos. (Sorry I forgot your names) Don’t they look fab though! 

This is defiantly a brand I will be checking out in the future. 

Aromand is a British brand based in Berkshire that create luxury hand made candles, reed diffusers and room sprays. 

The scents are unique and very sophisticated. I had the chance to have a chat with Sue who develops the scents and makes the products. 

She takes inspiration from her husband who is a chef and adopts a similar approach to recipe development when creating new scents. 

My favourite has to be Berries and Black Pepper. Berry scents can often be too sweet and overpowering for me but the addition of black pepper adds a balanced spiciness to the fragrance. 

All of her products are beautifully gift wrapped as well. 

I’m gutted my photography was not up to scratch on the day as it really doesn’t do the brand justice. 

Jewelled Buddha is a brand that has captured my heart. I’m saving my pennies so I can purchase one of their handcrafted sari necklaces in the near future. 

All of the scarves and necklaces are created from repurposed saris meaning each piece is one-of-a-kind. 

Jewelled Budda works in partnership with Indian based social enterprise, Wandering silk, ensuring the skilled women who create each necklace and scarf are paid a fair wage, experience regular employment and safe working conditions. 

The brand is truly inspiring in its promotion of zero waste and empowering of women. 

Annoyingly I was so busy chatting to Harjit about the brand and its work I totally forgot to take any photos of the gorgeous necklaces and scarfs. Do check out their website though here.

I have always been a fan of Joe Browns who were at the event showcasing their Christmas collection. It is Beautiful, with a capital B. 

Other creatives showcasing at the event included; the very talented Sheena Bulsara who creates one-of-a-kind jewellery, Katherine Ellizerbeth Millinery and Gia who were displaying their soon to launch collection of clutch bags. 

Sheena Bulsara’s piece inspired by her time living in Paris
Hats created by Katherine Elizerbeth Millinery

The event was sponsored by jewellerybox.co.uk who provided the bags for our goody bags we were lucky to receive. We were gifted by brands including skinfix, freeman beauty, popband, PNY, yankeecandle and my beauty matches. 

I will let you know how I get on with some of these goodies in the future. Spoiler alert though, I’m already loving the Burt’s Bees lip balm and skinfix handcream. 

A #Fabulousnight in with Fabulous Mag

On Tuesday evening myself and little sister, fellow blogger Ashliegh,  took a trip up to London to attend Fabulous Magazines #Fabulousnightin.  Do go check out her blog, she writes about a wide variety of topics. 

The event was held on the top floor of News UK’s rather swanky building in London Bridge. The views from the 17th floor are quite amazing. With floor to ceiling Windows you get an amazing panaramic view of Londons Southbank. I tried to get some photos to share but as it was dark the internal lights kept reflecting in my lense. Bummer! 

When we arrived we had the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine from i heart WINES. Don’t mind if I do! 

If you want to find out more about the brand then check out their website

Whilst sipping on our drinks we sat down to watch the Q&A session led by Claire Frost. 

The panel of authors included Lindsey Kelk (I’m a bit of a fan girl), Giovanna Fletcher and last but not least Mhairi McFarlane. This was live streamed on Fabulous Magazines Facebook page. 

There was plenty of laughter and valuable advice for aspiring authors. The video is worth a watch if you want some advice and industry insider tips. 

We then had the opportunity to meet each of the lovely ladies in person and have our books signed. They were fab and took time to have a chat and pose for a photo with everyone. Well done ladies! 

Posing with Lindsey Kelk

So with some new books to read (other than my business studies textbooks) I will do my best to share some reviews with you in the new future.

LDNmeetups #BigBloggerExpo

Sunday saw me heading up to London with my blogging partner in crime, aka my little sister Ashleigh. 

We were heading to The Danubius Hotel Regents Park for the #BigBloggerExpo organised by LDNmeetup’s Lauren and Abi. Once again the girls outdid themselves and arranged another fab blogging event. 

The premis of this event was to meet with brands whilst making connections for future collaboration opportunities and to meet and chat with other bloggers. There was also a fundraising element to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. One of my favourite things about LDNmeetup is they like to give back. In fact this weekend several bloggers are volunteering at Race for Life Hyde Park providing essential support in the running of the event. 

When we arrived we were signed in and each given a stamp card with all the brands we would be meeting listed. We then were free to collect the stamps from each brand and would recieve a goody bag if we filled our card. I think this is a great idea as it means you don’t accidentally miss out on meeting any of the brands. I’m also a kid at heart and liked collecting the stamps. It reminded me of the merit stamps your teacher would give for good work at school. 

The event was sponsored by some excellent brands including Jewellerybox.co.uk, a London based online company specialising in real jewellery at costume jewellery prices. They have some super cute designs that arrive beautifully gift packages. 

Bouroughbox, another sponsor, are an exciting company that offer a monthly subscription service delivering artisan food products straight to your door. This is one for foodies as there are so many exciting and unique brands included. I’m desperate to sign up but sadly can’t afford it at the moment. (Fingers crossed I get the job I’m interviewing for next week, then I might be able to)

So many exciting brands were exhibiting on the day, too many to feature in one blog post. They included Dr Paw Paw, Living Proof, Heaven skincare, Westlab, Instant Effects, Bonnie Boo Gifts and many many more. 

All the brands were very generous and gifted us with lots of samples to try so do keep your eye out for my reviews that will follow over the next couple of weeks. 

For now though I will leave you with some pictures of the event.

Bonnie Boo Gifts
Jody Bell
Dr Paw Paw
Two Three / Clothing Brand

Don’t forget to look out for the upcoming product reviews. 

If you want to find out more about Ldnmeetup blogger events you can do so here. 

Raising funds for MacMillan Cancer Support 

MacMillan Cancer support is a charity that is very close to my heart. As a charity it provides support for people experiencing all types of cancer. 
I am thankful that MacMillan is there for my mum as she continues her Cancer Journey. Mum has terminal Breast cancer and everyday provides new challenges for her. 

She is very strong and has a truly inspiring attitude towards this. MacMillan though is a charity she can turn to for the support she needs to keep being strong. 

Mum with me and my sisters

This is why I’m 100% behind my husbands choice to support Macmillan by raising sponsorship when he takes part in this years London triathlon.

He has also had his own experience with Cancer, at just 20 He was diagnosed with testicular Cancer. 

With just over a month to go until the event on 7th August training is getting serious. This evening was spent over our local Trifarm practicing open water swimming. I wasn’t in the water, nope I was drinking tea on the edge of the lake under my hood keeping warm. Good job he was going to get wet anyway just look at that stormy sky. 

As you can see training is going well. 

If you would like to show your support for MacMillan you can make a donation via my husbands charity page. 

If you want to find out more about the charity MacMillan Cancer Support you can do so here.

Thanks for taking the time to read this very personal post. 

An afternoon of crafting | #VikingArtyParty

Last Saturday I was very fortunate to be able to attend the #VikingArtyParty held in The Gallery at Lumiere London.

This was such a fun afternoon and has left me very inspired. 

We had the opportunity to take part in three different craft workshops including calligraphy, origami and block printing,  all of which where led by some very talented people. 

There was a chance to meet and chat to fellow bloggers whislt indulging in plenty of tea and pastries to help fuel our creativity. Yum! 

image courtesy of Search Laboratory

For the activities we were split into to three groups. My groups first activity was modern calligraphy. 

 The class was led by Suzie who is a very talented Calligrapher and teaches classes at Tea & Crafting in Camden. She is super friendly and patient, which was a godsend as I am definitely not a natural Calligrapher. 

I’m determined to practice though as this is a skill I would love to have. We were able to take home the supplies to practice at home courtesy of Suzie’s high end stationers business A-liaise.co.uk. Here you can find all the calligraphy equipment you should need including some pretty funky looking neon inks. She also offers a hand written calligraphy service for wedding invitations etc. 

Our next activity was Mindful Origami. The class was lead by Samual Tsang who is the author of The book of Mindful Origami (available from Amazon) and brains and talent behind Sesames.co.uk hand crafted paper origami floral bouquets. 

The picture below shows a tulip bouquet but he is able to create so many other variations of flower that I urge you to check out his gallery in the link above. 

Now your probably thinking what the hell is mindful origami? 

I would describe it as using the art form of origami as a way of decluttering the mind and focusing on positive thoughts. You can find more about it though in Samual’s book. 

Our last activity was block printing. This was so much fun and is a simple yet effective way of decorating. Depending on the paint you used it can be done on most mediums including fabric, wood, card and even coated card like on our file boxes we created. 

I decided to print little lipsticks on mine. I’m very pleased with how they turned out. 

image courtesy of Search Laboratory

The class was led by Jane, founder of tea and crafting workshops. Located in Camden they offer all manor of workshops ranging from knitting, cake decorating, weaving, calligraphy, paper cutting and much more. They even offer hen parties. 

Of course I couldn’t fail to mention the events organisers from search laboratory, especially Jenny who invited me after meeting her at last weeks #bloggersball, and their sponsors Viking-direct. Viking are one of the UK’s largest stationary and office suppliers. They are also a great place to find and wide range of crafting supplies and supplied us all with a goody bag so we can try out some more crafting at home. 

I have an offer code to share with you that will save you 15% off any future purchase from A-Laise.co.uk. Neon coloured calligraphy anyone? Yes please! 

It is SUPER15

This is valid until the end of August

All that’s left to say is a huge thank you to everyone involved in organising this event. It was such fun and has really inspired me to try out some different crafts. 

*Featured image credit – Search Laboratory

Saturated Colour’s #eSCexmeetup 

Yesterday I was one of several Essex based bloggers who had the opportunity to attend the #eSCexbbmeetup. The event was hosted by Essex’s very own independent cosmetic brand Saturated Colour

Specialising in innovative lip products Sarurated Colour was launched in 2015, previously under the name of Kiss Cosmetics. 

Creator Danielle Fenwick has focused on creating high quality lip products that remain at affordable prices. The brand is also 100% cruelty free with some products even being suitable for vegans. 

During the Event we had the opportunity to take part in a lip art competition. Alas I didn’t win But it did mean we had the chance to have a good old play with many of the products. 

The products I used to create my ombré lip look are listed in the picture below. 

So far I am really impressed with all the products  I have tried. Everything is comfortable to wear, even the Make Me Matte, an ingenious product that will transform any lipstick into a matte finish. 
We also had the chance to chat with other bloggers whislt enjoying some buffet and mocktails. Yum!

We all went home with a goody bag of personally selected products to try out at home, including some coconut oil from vita coco, who sponsored the event. 

I’m promised a sweep of sheerstick is perfect for busy mums like myself. 

Off course I also did a tiny little bit of shopping whilst I was there. Well with a 3 for 2 offer I couldn’t not! I shall do a post later on with swatches and I depth review. 

Thank you to the lovely ladies at Saturated colour for inviting me, it was a very fun afternoon. 

Bye for now, Katy x